Suffolk DA says video footage was key to guilty verdicts in Thomas Valva murder trials

Many of the videos were deleted from the day of Thomas Valva's death on Jan. 17, 2020, but the camera from the dog's room off of the kitchen picked up the audio from that day.

Krista McNally

Mar 28, 2023, 9:50 PM

Updated 392 days ago

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Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney told News 12 in an exclusive interview that video evidence used during the Thomas Valva murder trials was crucial in finding both Michael Valva and Angela Pollina guilty.
Many of the videos were deleted from the day of Thomas Valva's death on Jan. 17, 2020, but the camera from the dog's room off of the kitchen picked up the audio from that day. There were also videos that were saved because Angela Pollina texted them to Michael Valva.
Prosecutors showed a compilation of both videos to the jurors.
"They did a great job of cutting that video up, examining it, and then putting it together in conjunction with putting it together with the texts from the two co-conspirators," Tierney says.
The Suffolk district attorney says that evidence showed jurors the ongoing abuse, which conveyed an agreement between both parties to place Thomas Valva and his brother Anthony Valva in an unheated garage.
Tierney says the videos were tough and that it was "infuriating" when he saw some of the footage.
"It was really a house of horrors," Tierney says.
On Tuesday, the Department of Social Services gave a presentation on Child Protectives Services and answered questions from the Suffolk County Legislature.
Legislator Trish Bergin wants to ensure there is never another Thomas Valva case. She suggested changes within the department.
"I think it is very important that we have some sort of internal affairs bureau within DSS that is similar to the structure that we have in the police department that you folks would be accountable to," Bergin says.
Representatives for the Department of Social Services say most of the items from the 2019 CPS Transformation Act have been accomplished. They say since then, the caseloads have gone down each year, and in 2023, no case worker in their department has over 20 cases.
The goal is 12 caseloads per worker.


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